Tributes for Lincoln City 'legend' Percy Freeman

Percy Freeman Image copyright Lincoln City FC
Image caption Percy Freeman played for Lincoln City during two spells in the 1970s

Tributes have been paid to one of Lincoln City's "all-time legends", Percy Freeman, who has died aged 70.

The club said its Nottnghamshire-born former striker, who died on Tuesday, had been "suffering from ill health for some time".

Former England manager Graham Taylor, who bought Freeman back to Lincoln for a second spell, said he was a hugely "influential" player.

Freeman also had spells at West Brom, Reading and Boston United.

Image copyright Twitter

Chris Cook, who played under Freeman at Boston Town, described him as a "gentleman".

"He was a gentle giant, he could also be a strong man in the dressing room but a very lovely man," he said.

Freeman, who scored 76 goals in 166 appearances for The Imps, grew up in Newark and was later bought by West Bromwich Albion in 1968, as cover for England forward Jeff Astle.

Unable to break into the side, he joined Lincoln on a free transfer and ended the season with 14 goals.

Image copyright Twitter

He later briefly left football following a move to Reading FC, to work in scaffolding, before moving back to Sincil Bank where he helped get the club promoted to the third division.

Graham Taylor, who managed Lincoln City from 1972-77, said: "It's very very sad. He was a very influential part in the success of Lincoln at that particular time.

"He was very dangerous in the penalty box, a hard man to stop."

Journalist Grahame Lloyd tweeted that Freeman was a "classic bustling number 9 - a wild animal released from cage just before kick-off".

Lincoln City said its thoughts were with Mr Freeman's family and friends at this "extremely sad time".

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